Over the previous few weeks of eating, drinking and gift giving I’ve been playing the appropriately festive Orcs Must Die. This game is particularly festive because it… is training for defending your presents from onslaughts of- ok fine, it’s not festive at all, really, but shooting orcs is fun no matter what time of year it happens to be. Even more fun, however, is placing spike traps and watching as the orcs gormlessly wander onto them, getting riddled with holes in the process.[drop]That’s where Orcs Must Die is deepest. I’ve tried out a great many different ideas for trying to maximise death with combinations of different traps. Adding archers behind barriers to pick enemies off as they wade through tar pools to slow them down is fairly effective, whilst watching them get ripped apart by arrows that shoot from the wall and crushed by a spiked falling ceiling is just as entertaining as you’d imagine. I personally think I’ve found my favourite layout for a 3×3 space (though now I’m thinking about it I have thought of at least 3 different ideas that are probably superior) involving a mixture of tar traps (slow enemies down), spike traps (spikes spring up from the floor), barriers and archers. I can even add arrow traps in the walls for some more firepower should I have the funds.
That’s not all there is for you to do – the game’s camera sits in a typical third person position and you’ve got an automatic crossbow (like a machine gun) to take out the orcs from a distance. Whilst it is automatic it’s very inaccurate with sustained fire, so I’d recommend taking single shots or short bursts at range. It’s excellent crowd control, too.
Also available in your arsenal is a bladestaff, for the hopefully rare moment when a little up close stabbing is necessary, and a few magic items that use up mana. These include the wind belt, which lets you essentially force push enemies or pick one up and throw him, and flame braces, which throws fire balls and can place flame walls.
There are a ton of levels to utilise your traps and weaponry on, all of which will test your planning and funding, the former of which will hugely affect the latter, as killing orcs will give you more cash to spend on traps. A sudden change from a tight, corridor-based level to a wide open level will have me flustered for a second or two before I start looking for a bottleneck and fortifying it as best as I can. Some won’t give you an obvious bottleneck, or will give you two bases to defend without an easy way to run all the enemies through one area, forcing you to split your resources and frantically dash between the two with your trusty crossbow.
So what have we learnt? Orcs are festive, they’ll happily run into obvious traps and you can get automatic magic crossbows. We also learnt that Orcs Must Die is an excellent game, and is just £12 on Steam. It’s also available on OnLive for the the same price if streaming your gaming is more your thing. Minimum system specs are through the Steam link.